ًWest Bank and Gaza
CSOs Call to Restore Constitutional Life and Issue a Presidential Decree to Hold General Presidential, Legislative, and National Council Elections
22nd of May 2023 marks two years since the first round of general elections was scheduled to take place, starting with legislative elections, followed by presidential elections, and the national council elections. However, it was cancelled after the nomination period that lasted until 30/04/2020. The number of electoral lists was unprecedented, as 36 electoral lists ran for elections, including 28 independent lists, showing the public’s eagerness and thirst for elections.
Following the dissolution of the Palestinian Legislative Council by the constitutional court on December 12, 2018, and the subsequent postponement of elections, no efforts have been made to restore democracy and hold elections. This contradicts the social contract that is established between the authority and the citizens, as elections are a legal and constitutional right that allow citizens to exercise their right to political participation and hold public office.
The continued absence of the legislative council caused an imbalance in the political system's structure, giving rise to an executive authority that wields control over all aspects of life, assuming both legislative and executive powers. What ensued was a breakdown in the separation of powers, where the executive authority answers to no one, allowing it to take complete control of the judiciary by dividing it and undermining its role.
Even though the Social Contract (the Declaration of Independence and the Palestinian Basic Law) stipulates that elections are what give legitimacy to the political system, the last general elections were held in 2006. This resulted in a legitimacy crisis on all levels of the ruling system, which is why we call for the reinstatement of the people as the source of authority, for they hold the right to choose their leaders.
Based on all the recent meetings, we, the CSOs, call for the following:
– Immediately issue a presidential decree to hold general legislative, presidential, and National Council elections before the end of this year
– Develop a unified national strategy prepared by all active members of society, including political parties, factions, prisoners in Israeli prisons, CSOs, unions, and the government, ensuring the participation of citizens of occupied Jerusalem in elections, as elections in Jerusalem are a national battle that ought to be fought by all.
– Organize a community campaign to make general elections a Palestinian priority and promote dialogue on this matter.
– Request that the Algerian president support the agreement on elections according to what the Palestinian factions agreed upon (Algeria Declaration for Reconciliation) on 14/10/2022 to hold general presidential, legislative, and national council elections in Gaza, the West Bank, including Jerusalem, Palestine's capital, and the Diaspora, as the National Council represents all Palestinians worldwide.